Portrait of Zavod        
2001 Archibald Prize Entry By Monica Adams

Often described as a keyboard wizard Allan Zavod a graduate of Melbourne Conservatorium was discovered by Duke Ellington who after hearing him playing jazz piano arranged for him to study at Berklee School of Music where he later held a post as professor of music.

Based in the USA for 20 years he played, recorded and toured with many music greats including Glen Miller Orchestra, Woody Herman Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson Big Band, Cab Calloway, Jean Luc-Ponty and George Benson, culminating in a 1984 world tour with the legendary Frank Zappa.

America’s music bible "Downbeat Magazine" named Zavod one of the USA’s Top 10 Keyboardists of the 80’s. He has received grants and commissions to compose, orchestrate and perform original works throughout the world.

Representing Australia in 1987 he won the Asia Broadcasting Union Popular Song Contest in Kuala Lumper viewed by an audience exceeding 800 million. In 1988 the Australia Council commissioned him to compose "Concerto Australiana" a classical/jazz fusion three movement work for piano, orchestra and jazz ensemble which was performed at the Bicentennial Australia Day Celebrations, live on ABC television at the Sydney Opera House.

As a teenager in 1968 he performed for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at Government House and in 1988 performed a work for piano and jazz choir before H.R.H Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana for the Melbourne Youth Music Council. Shortly thereafter there was an Australian Girls Choir commission for a jazz work and a composition for the Victorian Youth Symphonic Band.


In 1997 Symphony Australia commisioned Zavod to write "Concerto for Trumpet, Jazz Trio & Orchestra" for james Morrison to open the Adelaide Symphony season. The enjoyed 4 further sell out performances in 2001 at the SYdney Opera House with the prestigious Sydney Symphony Orchestra. A tour of the work with major European & Chinese orchestras featuring James & Allan is planned for 2002 to include an April performance in Munich with the Munich Symphony.

In 1996 Zavod composed a stirring sound scape for the stage adaption of J.R.R Tolkien’s "The Hobbit" which enjoyed huge success throughout Australia then and again in 1999. An American tour is in place for 2001.

As a film composer Allan has scored over 30 films for American and Australian film and television including a US film score with famed guitarist Eric Clapton, an award winning children’s film for "Shines" director Scott Hicks and the long running series "A Country Practice".

Concert performances for past and present Prime Ministers and Heads of state; Government depts. (including Australia Post – "Faces of Australia), Sydney Olympics 2000 (performed original composition for International Olympic Committee), fund raisers for the Dalai Lama and other charities; producing and music directing here and over seas for popular artists as well as Network Ten’s "Good Morning Australia"; monthly writing for national music magazine "Australian Musician" occupies Zavod’s time annually.

Further commissions for 2001/2 will see Allan Zavod compose major orchestral works to include a trombone concerto for soloist James Morrison (Australia Council grant) to be performed with the Australian Youth Orchestra and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in 2002.

Allan recently received an award from the Australian Composers Guild in recognition of his work in Jazz/Classical composition for which he is considered to be at the forefront.

He has recently composed a Walt Disney production having just completed a short tour with ex Hot Chocolate Emmy award winning jazz saxophonist John Altman.

Just back from performing in Hawaii with old friend George Benson, Zavod recently performed Rhapsody in Blue at the Melbourne Concert Hall and Sydney Opera House with the Australian Pops Orchestra.

In December 2001 Allan will perform an all Gershwin concert in Florida on the new Blue Steinway piano called "Rhapsody" built in honour of George Gershwin to celebrate 100 years of Steinway.


1965 – 1969 Bachelor of Music Degree, Melbourne University
1970 – 1972 Student and Professor at the Berklee College of Music, Boston, Mass


1968 Performance for Her Majesty The Queen – ABC Showband
1970 – 1972 Professor at Berklee College of Music, Boston,
1972 " Cab Calloway, Bermuda" – Music Director
1973 World Tour with the Glen Miller Orchestra, Conducted by Buddy De Franco
1974 World Tour and recording with the Maynard Ferguson Big Band - "Chameleon" Available on Columbia
1975 World Tour with Woody Herman Orchestra
1976 – 1982 World Tours and Recordings with the Jean-Luc Ponty Band - "Imaginary Voyage", "Enigmatic Ocean", "Cosmic Messenger", "Jean-Luc Ponty Live", "Taste of Passion" All available on Atlantic Records and Tapes
1976 Recorded with the Billy Cobham Band, "Life and Times" Available on C.B.S
1978 Dave Liebman Quartet - Special guest Allan Zavod
1979 Performed with George Benson, Hawaii
1980 Named one of Top 10 Keyboardists in U.S.A (Downbeat Magazine)
1980 "Kiss Me Kate" – Music Director/Arranger (U.S.A)
1980 Solo Jazz Album, "What’s New"
1980 A.B.C Showband – Music Arranger
1980 – 1983 Master Classes, Melbourne University
1983 Appearances on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Dinah Shore Show, Merv Griffin and Mike Walsh T.V shows
1984 World Tours with FRANK ZAPPA
including Live Video and Recording "Does Humour Belong in Music" produced by Frank Zappa, "Frank Zappa Guitar" Disc 1 and 2 Ryko Disc, USA and "You Can’t Do That On Stage" 1-6 Barking Pumpkin Records, USA
1985 Guest Recording Artist with "Australian Crawl"
1985 Performance Governor General-Government House, Melbourne
1985 Film Score "Death of a Soldier", James Coburn (Suatu film Management, Scotti Bros)
1986 Film Score "The Big Hurt"
1986 Film Score " The Right Hand Man", Rupert Everett
1987 Winner "International Film and Television Award (New York City) for Best Soundtrack for TV Commercial
1987 Commissioned work for Australian Girls Choir "Rocking Along"
1987 Film Score "Time Guardian, Tom Burlinson" (Hemdale Film Corp)
1987 Winner A.B.U. Pop Song Contest Kuala Lumper. Composed and arranged "Time Can’t Keep us Apart" Singer Kate Ceberano
1987 Film Score "Howling III" Barry Humphries
1988 Winner W.R.O.K. Australian Bicentennial Songwriters Award
1988 Composed and Performed "Concerto Australiana" (Original classical/Jazz fusion three movement composition) Sydney Opera House with the Australian Youth Orchestra Bicentennial Australia Day.
1988 Film Score "Communion" (US) Christopher Walken, (main title & theme Eric Clapton)
1988 Film Score "Martians Go Home" (US) Randy Quade. (US) Ed Pressman Films
1988 Film Score "Sebastian and the Sparrow" (Scott Hicks)

1988 Performance with HRH Prince and Princess of Wales. Director Melbourne Jazz Choir – Melbourne Youth Music Council – Music Director/Composer/Arranger
1989 Film Score "A Sting in the Tail"
1989 Winner Australian Writers and Art Directors Award
1990 Film Score "Hot Blooded American Woman" Christopher Plummer (Canada)
1990 Film Score "Fatal Sky" Michael Nouri
1990 Film Score "Full Fathom Five" Carl Franklin Dir (Concord USA)
1991 "Good Vibrations" Mini series Seven network Aus
1992 Film Score "Shotgun Wedding" (Beyond Aus)
1992 "All the Best" Maurie Fields – Virgin Records, (Producer)
1992 "Cheers" Maurie Fields – Virgin Records, (Producer)
1992 Performance, Dalai Lama Tour Australia
1992 Conductor Judith Durham, M.C.G – Final World Cup Cricket
1993 "Let me Find Love" Judith Durham (Co-Producer, Music Director, Arranger)
1993 "Australia Land of Today" Judith Durham (Producer, Music Director, Arranger)
1993 A.B.C Soundtrack C.D "More Great Australia Film and TV Themes" (Right hand Man Theme)

1993 ABC TV Series "Secrets"
1993 – 1995 Judge, Australian Film Institute Awards for Music
1994 A Country Practice
1994 Film Score "Art Deco Detective" (Trident, USA)
1995 Premiers Small Business Awards Gala Beethoven Concert, Solo Performance, Melbourne Concert Hall "Appassionata" Guest: Kate Ceberano, Patron.
1995 Performed Dalai Lama Birthday Celebration, Great Hall, National Gallery of Victoria
1995 Australia Remembers Gala Concert televised ABC (Medallion from Prime Minister Keating)
1995 "HMS PINAFORE" – Pollywoodside, Musical Director/Arranger
1996 "Maurie Fields – Music of a Lifetime" CEL Records (Producer)
1996 "Lil Elvis" Australian Childrens Television Foundation (Songwriter)
1996 "Bush Patrol" (Seven Network Series 18 x ½ hour) (Composer)
1996 , 7, 8 – "State Coroner" (10 Network Series 1 and 2) (Composer)
1996 Filmscore "Back in Business" (Columbia, USA)
1997-Current Australian Musician magazine Music Educator.
1997 Filmscore "Snide and Prejudice" USA (Sony, Tri-Star, USA)
1997 Featured in Oxford Companion to Australian Music
1997 "Justice" (West Coast Pictures – Perth, WA)
1997 Symphony Australia commissioned Zavod to write "Concerto for Trumpet, Jazz Trio and Orchestra" for James Morrison
1998 Filmscore "Dead End" (B and B Film Production, Australia)
1999 JRR Tolkein "The Hobbit" Australia wide Theatre production
1999 Geordie Hormel CD, Recording US (Producer/Arranger)
2000 "Child Star" Shirley Temple Story Disney /Roadshow
2000 Australian composers Guild Award (Sandy Dennis), Government House Sydney
1999-2001 Special guest lecturer Melbourne University "Careers in Music".
2000 "Olympic Rhapsody 2000" CD – IOC Performance Olympic Games Sydney
2001 Stonnington Council "Mentor program" guest speaker.


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